Calling FAW as one of the most dedicated Chinese Automakers to ever come to Pakistan may not be an overstatement. The reason being, its ten years long partnership with Pakistan’s Al-haj, which has successfully led to their manufacturing operations and the provision of FAW’s light vehicles in our country. FAW originally started off in Pakistan by selling heavy vehicles and then moved on to introduce and produce light vehicles like the X-PV and Carrier.
Moreover, Al-haj FAW CEO, Hilal Khan’s hints over V2‘s localized production are a further testament to FAW’s determination in competing for the well-established big three of our auto market. Currently, they offer four vehicles under their light vehicles line-up in between PKR 725,000 and PKR 1,885,000. And keeping in view, the growing interest of FAW in the Pakistani market, it is safe to assume that they will swell their line-up to create further inroads. There are several cars which FAW sells in mainland China to put that into perspective; they alone have six sub-brands, each selling two to five different models. For example V2 actually hails from their Vita brand making it the FAW Vita V2 in full.
So which car in FAW China’s line-up can prove to be disruptive if brought to Pakistan?
As I mentioned before, FAW has many models up its sleeve in China, out of which, many hold the potential to provide a breakthrough in our industry. But with more cars, come more possibilities and with that comes greater confusion. To ease that out, we at PakWheels Blog have been coming up with articles about cars, which our industry is in dire need of. My top pick right now is the all new FAW B50 and in the following paragraphs, I will supply you with the reasons for my choice.
B50 comes from FAW’s Besturn division, formerly known for basing its cars on older Mazdas is now leading FAW’s brand line-up from the front, with cars like B30 (which we also featured as a potential deal-maker for Pakistani market) and now with the completely redesigned B50.
On the outside, new 2016 FAW B50 sees a complete design overhaul over its predecessor as it keeps up with the bolder new design language of FAW Besturn brand, as seen before in the newly released B30. B50 now has a broader front grille along with sleeker headlamps and horizontal strip-style LED fog/daylight running lamps. Moreover, rather better-looking creases on the sides enhance the overall aggressive-sh look of the car.
There are two different trim levels for the car, both of which have some noticeable design variances. The fundamental differences between the top of the line RS variant and B50’s base variant in the exterior department include a different set of alloy rims, black front grille in addition to coming with a trunk mounted pedestal-esque spoiler and black roof.
If you don’t think that the exterior of new FAW B50 qualifies as a complete redesign, give its interior a chance, which as shown in the photo above, completely blows away its predecessor.
The interior of the new B50 looks well thought and crafted, but again it’s something that depends on one’s personal preference. Moving on while RS and Base variants have various noticeable design differences on the outside, there isn’t much to talk about in the interior department, as the only difference is the presence of red stitching and RS badges in the top of the line RS trim. Only let down, however, is the infotainment unit of the car, which is an area often neglected by Chinese automakers, because apparently the Chinese customers are accustomed to only listening to the radio in the car leaving much to be desired.
Recommended Reading: All That FAW Can Offer: A Pakistani Auto Consumer’s Expectations From FAW
What comes Under the Hood?
Under the hood, new B50 comes with two different options in the form of either a 1.4-liter Turbo or a 1.6-liter Naturally Aspirated engine. Both the engines are Volkswagen-sourced; thanks to FAW’s extensive portfolio of joint ventures with companies like the VW, Mazda, etc. 1.6-liter engine option is the same from the last iteration which means it still has a not too pleasing power output rating of 109-hp and 155-Nm of torque. The new entrant to the engine department is a 1.4-liter Turbo option which gives out some decent 136 horses and 220Nm of torques to B50’s wheels. However, this engine remains exclusive to the more expensive RS model. Transmission offerings also remain pretty standard with a choice of either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.
How Does its Price Stack-up Against the Sedan Stakeholders of Pakistan’s Market?
Currently, the new B50 from FAW has gone on sale in China at a starting price of 81,800 Yuan that translates to around PKR 1,290,000, which is straightaway PKR 233,000 less than the cheapest ‘new’ sedan of our market that is the 1.3-liter Honda City. The RS model, which comes with a 1.4-liter Turbo engine, is available for purchase in China for a price of 117,800 Yuan which, when exchanged to Pakistani Rupees comes out to be equivalent of PKR 1,854,000.
In the case of Pakistani market, the lack of competition has for long led to the unjustified pricing of cars as proven by the price comparison in the table above. To me even if FAW somehow manages to bring the base variant of the B50 in our market for a price that is less than PKR 2.0 million, it can create inroads in Pakistan.
In my past comparisons too, I have taken into account, the exterior dimensions of the cars compared, as I feel it can give an idea of the relative size of a car, which we have not yet physically seen. So in this area, FAW is clearly longer also with a larger wheelbase (which is a preference of Chinese customers at large) than all of the three sedan stakeholders of our market. The only place where it takes the second spot is the width, which is where 2016 Honda Civic has a minute lead of 5mm. Other than that, it’s all good news from B50.
The 2016 FAW B50 is another proof of the iteration by iteration improvement, which is now becoming increasingly evident in new Chinese cars helping them to come on par with globally better established European, Japanese, Korean and American competitors. Do you think FAW B50 has what it takes to overcome the prevailing influence of Japanese Sedans in our country? Respond in the comment section below.
This blog was first published on: Aug 26, 2016